More efficient approach procedures reduce CO2 emissions

Less noise pollution, lower fuel consumption and reduced pollutant emissions: the new Efficient Flight Profile Concept (EFP) has several positive effects. It supports the continuous descent, which enables a landing that is more fuel-efficient and low-emission compared to standard approaches. It was developed and established by DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and Lufthansa in spring in the record time of just five weeks. They used the decline in traffic caused by the Corona crisis, which offers more space for optimized flight profiles.

In cooperation with Lufthansa, Deutsche Flugsicherung developed and implemented a concept for more efficient flight profiles in April and May of this year. The Efficient Flight Profile Concept (EFP) supports continuous descent operations, which enables a landing that is more fuel-efficient and low-emission than standard approaches. At the same time, these approach profiles in the vicinity of the airports ensure a lower level of noise pollution.

Initial evaluations show that the Lufthansa Group alone has been able to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2,000 tonnes per month since the introduction of the EFP concept.

The EFP concept makes it possible to plan laterally as well as vertically optimized flight paths for approaches to Frankfurt and Munich airports from distances of more than 200 nautical miles. With a lead time of up to half an hour, aircraft are given clearance for a direct flight from the upper airspace to the Initial Approach Fix – the point from which they then approach the airport for landing.

This is only possible through close coordination between the air traffic control organizations involved and can take place up to a week before the actual flight event. Another key to the success of the EFP concept lies in the high level of transparency between the cockpit crew and the controllers, as well as the timely provision of information. The clearances are agreed at an early stage and thus enable a calm approach while avoiding lateral and vertical corrections as far as possible.

With the concept, those involved have reacted to the drastic decline in air traffic figures triggered by the Corona crisis, which has opened up new scope for optimizing flight operations, especially at the otherwise busiest airports in the Federal Republic of Germany, Frankfurt and Munich. Thanks to their close cooperation, Lufthansa and Deutsche Flugsicherung as well as all participating system partners developed, coordinated and established the new concept in the record time of only five weeks.

Klaus Froese, Hub CEO for Lufthansa in Frankfurt, emphasizes: “We used the low traffic demand together with air traffic control to develop and introduce further optimized approach profiles – within a few weeks. I am very confident that the new approach procedure will have its place in daily flight operations even with increasing traffic. ”

Dirk Mahns, Managing Director of Operations at Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, explains: “DFS sees itself as a service provider. In addition to our primary core task, namely to ensure safe air traffic, we focus on meeting the needs of airspace users. The common goal is to avoid or reduce the pollution associated with air traffic as far as possible. The EFP concept is an excellent example of what the system partners airlines and air traffic control can achieve in close cooperation and collaboration. We can be proud of what we have achieved; At the same time, it is an incentive for all of us to continue on this path of close cooperation. ”